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How to help kids understand and manage sad feelings and emotions

Updated: Jan 30

Today, we're diving into a super important topic: how to handle sadness. Whether it's a toy breaking, losing a game, or not doing so hot on a test, there are plenty of things that can bring on the blues. But guess what? Feeling sad is totally normal!

Recognizing the Feeling

The first step is acknowledging sadness. Encourage your kids to say, "I feel sad." It's important for them to know that things like tiredness, slow movements, or even tears are totally natural responses to sadness. We want to teach our little ones that it's okay to feel and express their emotions.

Words to Describe Sadness

Sadness can show up in lots of different ways. Some people might feel hurt, lonely, violated, ashamed, abandoned, isolated, powerless, vulnerable, fragile, embarrassed, or even depressed. It's helpful for kids to have words to describe their feelings so they can understand and express what's going on.

Now, let's jump into some strategies for managing sadness:

Talking About It

Encourage your kids to share their feelings with someone they trust—like a parent, friend, or teacher. Talking about emotions can lighten the emotional load and help find solutions, especially if their sadness is caused by someone else's actions.

Drawing or Writing It Out

Let's get creative! Drawing or writing about feelings can help kids better understand their emotions and the situations that are making them feel sad.

Get Active

Moving their bodies can really boost their mood! Encourage your little ones to do some jumping jacks, go for a run, or take a walk. Physical activity releases happy chemicals in the brain, so let's motivate our kids to find joy in being active.

Deep Breaths

When sadness strikes, taking deep breaths can be super calming. Have your kiddos breathe in deeply through their nose, hold it for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly through their mouth. It's a simple technique that can make a big difference. You can even find some cool breathing exercises from SEL resources to try together! You can read more about the benefits of deep breathing here.

Think of Happy Things

Sometimes, shifting focus to happy memories or things they're grateful for can help improve their mood. Remember, we're not trying to dismiss their sadness, but provide a little comfort during tough times. Encourage them to visualize a happy place or think about something that brings them joy.

Ask for Help

Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength! If your child's sadness persists or gets worse, encourage them to talk to a counselor, therapist, or trusted adult. Finding support and solutions can make navigating through emotions a little bit easier.

Now, here's an important reminder for all of us: feeling sad is a normal part of life. What really matters is how we respond to those emotions. By practicing these steps, we can help our kiddos feel better gradually while they experience their feelings.

And hey, parents and educators, these strategies aren't just ways to handle sadness—they're lessons in emotional intelligence and resilience! So, let's keep supporting and guiding our children as they learn to understand and manage their emotions.

If you found these tips helpful, make sure to share and subscribe to our newsletter and YouTube Channel for more awesome content. Take care, and always remember that together, we're nurturing and understanding our children's emotional world. You're doing an amazing job!

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